the string can be longer than this
How long? The string length makes a huge difference in runtime.
But it is horribly slow
Define slow. Slow to some people might be really quick to others.
Typically I need to compare millions of such pairs
How many millions? 1, 10, 100, 1,000? It all makes a difference.
I think you need to show your code and some realistic data. I have basic substr-based code that will
process your example data 100k+ times a second.
That, to me, is fast
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